A solid mangrove jack taken from a tight creek within Hinchinbrook Channel.

Hinchinbrook in a tinnie – part two

Chris caught this sand bass jigging in the deepwater for fingermark.
Estuary cod are abundant around any rocks in the Hinchinbrook Channel.
Collapsed banks like the one in the background held plenty of mangrove jacks.

THIS month we’ll be looking at part two of our Hinchinbrook tinnie trip. The morning after our epic mangrove jack session, we took dad out to end of Lucinda Bulk Sugar Terminal. Almost everything lives around the terminal, so you never know what’s going to eat your lure next.

I landed a small coral trout on a Zerek Fish Trap Soft Vibe lure on the first drop. Plenty of trevally and queenfish were showing on the sounder, but they were sitting mid-water and not keen to eat. I eventually hooked one but got towed into the pylons very quickly.

Other than that, it was quiet, and we didn’t see anyone else catch a fish around the terminal for the rest of the morning. A 5-10 knot breeze kicked in from the southwest, which was enough to put a ripple on the surface but by the time we dropped dad off, it started to glass out in the channel. Hinchinbrook tinnie

Chris and I went back up the channel to look for fingermark, though the tide barely moved in our preferred area. So, we decided to have a look in the Seymour River because we hadn’t been there before. The Seymour was different to the other creeks that run into the channel in that there’s a lot of white sand and it’s very shallow in places, particularly where the channel crosses from one side to the other.

The water was cleaner than the other creeks we’d been fishing and there were plenty of snags to fish. After fishing a few, we ended up pulling a stack of big pikey bream out of every one. This was a bit of fun, while we killed time before heading back to the mangrove jack spot we’d fished the day before.

We managed to get into the creek an hour earlier than the previous day and the water was so much lower. We saw a crocodile on a mud bank on the way in, which is always a bonus. After floating over a couple of shallow sections, we finally got the same snag we’d caught jack from the previous day.Hinchinbrook tinnie

The water was nearly a metre lower, with about two feet of water over the snag, so we waited for the tide to rise a little. The first baits in the water saw a couple of solid pikey bream come aboard. I don’t mind catching them at the start of a session because they chew pilchards up and create a berley trail.

The trail is what attracts fish from other snags to come and join the feed. It wasn’t long before estuary cod and jack got in on the action and we scored several nice models of each species. The wind was really getting up by this stage, and we still had to get back across the channel to Lucinda in my father’s little tinnie.Hinchinbrook tinnie

It wasn’t the most enjoyable trip back, but we got there eventually. Sunday morning was our last morning at Lucinda. We took dad up to look for fingermark, but once again the tide was slow. So, we stuck it out for a while and finally the tide picked up and fish began to bite. We missed a couple of fish and then I scored a fingermark around 40cm on a 3” Berkley Gulp Shrimp.Hinchinbrook tinnie

Unfortunately, we had to get dad back to the Lucinda Fishing Lodge to check out. Chris and I stayed out for a while and decided to have a deep troll along the sugar jetty. We had a perfect troll run, with Chris on the inside using an Atomic Hardz Shiner 85 Double Deep hard-body and me on the outside running a Killalure River Rat lure.

The sounder was showing plenty of fish and my lure was eventually crunched by an angry fish, and while we managed to tow it out of trouble, the hooks pulled. With time running out, we had a cast with heavy plastics where the fish were showing. Chris hooked a good barra that ran him straight towards the pylons, and the hook fell out… again.Hinchinbrook tinnie

It wasn’t our day, so we packed up and headed home. Over the few days at Hinchinbrook, we had an absolute ball and landed plenty of nice fish. It was a bit difficult without an electric motor in the tighter creeks, but with an open mind it’s possible to catch heaps of fish up the Hinchinbrook Channel in a tinnie, and I can’t wait to get back there.

About Keith Stratford

Keith Stratford

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